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Time is of the essence for waste-derived bioliquids

Time is of the essence to resolve the question mark  around the grandfathering of renewable obligation certificates (ROCs) for waste-derived bioliquids. This is according to those involved in converting waste in to bioliquids for combined heat and power (CHP).

A statement issued on 27 July by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) confirmed that bioliquids for use in CHP would not be supported through grandfathering of ROCs in the same way that energy from waste (EfW) technologies were to be supported.

This prompted major uncertainty for the industry and much of the investment in projects using waste-derived bioliquids for CHP was stopped.

Since then representatives from the industry have been involved in lobbying DECC and trying to get them to alter the legislation to agree to grandfather waste-derived bioliquids.

DECC has said the issue surrounds the difference between waste-derived and virgin bioliquids and while it understands the distinction, it is do with interpretation of some of the clauses in the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and, as such, it cannot find a way to support waste-derived bioliquids and not support virgin ones.

REG Biopower managing director Ian Collins has been involved in lobbying DECC on this issue and told MRW that there has been some positive movement.

He said: “DECC has acknowledged that there is an issue, which is positive, but it is still trying to work out how it can differentiate between sustainable and non-sustainable bioliquids and that seems to be the major sticking point.

“DECC are very concerned that whatever they do, it may provoke a legal challenge from either side, so we are trying to work with them to find technical and legal solutions to the problem.”

According to Collins, the fact that DECC is committed to finding a solution is a good thing, but time is of the essence.

He added: “While all this is going on, investment in the industry remains at a halt and it has been this way since April. So the main issue for the industry is the time scale, not just getting this sorted but getting it sorted as soon as possible.”

Collins confirmed that the industry has some key meetings lined-up with ministers from DECC and hopes there will be more information available on the issue by the beginning of next month.

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